EMS Platforms Benchmarking: Fixed Income Pulse Report

Reviewing the business case for a fixed income EMS: Assessing buy side appetite, satisfaction and adoption of EMS platforms

The fragmented nature of fixed income demanding the continued need for high touch trading means the widespread adoption of a fixed income EMS system is yet to come to fruition. However, with a wealth of market data, increased electronification, and a quest to aggregate liquidity into one book, the usage of EMS is on the rise. 

Our members have expressed a desire to benchmark how fellow buy side are using or considering these platforms. With this in mind, we set out to create this collective voice and aggregate the buy side perspectives. The report includes buy side commentary, key criteria, how current EMS platforms function and perform, and the motivation behind the adoption of this technology. In addition, this report also delves into what has prevented some of the buy side from embracing an EMS and key barriers to entry.

Key report takeaways include:

  • The current levels of eTrading suggest that buy side firms have a very fragmented view of liquidity.
  • Rates of EMS’ uptake within suggest we are still in the early majority phase of adoption, with just 35% of respondents currently employing an EMS on their desk.
  • The most important selection criteria for an EMS is liquidity aggregation followed by market connectivity which score vastly higher than features such as cost, automation and TCA.
  • Bloomberg is the most common EMS as both a bespoke and a multi-asset solution for fixed income trading desks.
  • It is better to have an EMS than to not, and in particular using a bespoke fixed income EMS offers a significant trading advantage with 85% of bespoke EMS users stating this is the case.

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With more buy side uptake of a fixed income EMS, I envisage less usage of the old RFQ model and a shift towards targeted approaches.”

Head of Credit Trading, Federated Hermes

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